Historic site in South Dakota; located in the Black Hills it is a giant sculpture commemorating four former U.S. presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. One previous ship has borne this name. That ship, Rushmore (LSD-14), was commissioned in 1944 and earned two battle stars for service in World War II and one for Cuba in 1961. She was removed from the Naval Vessel Register in 1970.
(LSD-47: displacement 11,590 (light) 16,325 (full); length 610’; beam 84’; draft 20’; speed 20+ knots; complement 419, troop capacity 402 (504 surge); armament 2 25mm MK 38 Machine Guns, 2 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts, 6 .50 cal. machine guns; 2 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Mounts; 2 Landing Craft, Air Cushion; flight deck for 2 rotary-wing aircraft; class Whidbey Island).
Rushmore (LSD-47) was laid down 9 November 1987 at Avondale Shipbuilding, New Orleans, La.; launched on 6 May 1989; sponsored by Mrs. Meredith Brokaw, wife of Tom Brokaw of NBC News; commissioned at New Orleans on 1 June 1991, Cdr. Bruce E. Dunscombe in command.
Azure, an antique musket and cutlass saltirewise, blade and muzzle down Proper, surmounted by an inescutcheon Celeste bearing three mullets Argent within a bordure Or; on a chief crested Or, an alligator Proper. Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy and represent the sea and excellence. South Dakota, the location of the Mount Rushmore Memorial for which the ship is named, is referred to by the gold and celeste inescutcheon, recalling the colors of the State flag. The three silver stars represent the World War II battle stars awarded to LSD-14, the first ship to bear the name Rushmore. The musket and cutlass symbolize traditional Navy values.
On a wreath Or and Azure, a mountain peak Proper viewed between two spruce trees Proper. LSD-47 takes its name from the Mount Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota, a monument to the nobility and power of the four great Presidents depicted there. The two Black Hill spruce trees stand for the State of South Dakota where the Mount Rushmore monument is located and represent the old and the new ships to bear the name Rushmore. The mountain peak and trees, referring to the land, also recall the mission of Rushmore as a landing ship dock. Light blue suggests devotion and integrity; green represents vigilance and continuing service.
The coat of arms as blazoned in full color upon a white oval enclosed within a dark blue collar edged on the outside with gold rope and bearing the name “USS RUSHMORE” at the top and “LSD 47” in base, all in gold.
A scroll Celeste fimbriated Or and inscribed “NOBILITY POWER” Argent.
Rushmore’s sponsor, Meredith Brokaw. (Avondale Industries, Incorporated Photograph, Negative Number 89-05-801, donated to the U.S. Navy).
Meredith Brokaw christens Rushmore, 6 May 1989 (Avondale Industries, Incorporated Photograph, Negative Number 89-05-804, donated to the U.S. Navy).
After commissioning, the ship's first assignment was to deliver three Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) to Camp Pendleton, Ca. from Panama City, Fla. En route Rushmore conducted a port visit in Jamaica, traversed the Panama Canal, and visited Rodman, Panama. Camp Pendleton was the last stop before arriving at her homeport of San Diego, Ca.
During her first six-month deployment, Rushmore spearheaded the beach landing on Somalia during Operation Restore Hope, the military humanitarian operation to provide food and medical relief to the starving Somalis.
Rushmore's 1994 western Pacific deployment came almost one year ahead of schedule. She deployed with only four weeks’ notice and participated in Operation Support Hope off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya, the United States Liaison Officer relocation from Somalia, and exercises with forces of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Rushmore's 1996 deployment followed a successful training cycle during which Rushmore earned the Blue "E" and the Battle "E". Rushmore concluded 1996 with a port visit to Mazatlan, Mexico. The ship earned its second consecutive Battle "E" in 1996.
Rushmore deployed in 1999 with the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). During this deployment, Rushmore participated in Operation Iron Magic with the United Arab Emirates and Exercise Red Reef with Saudi Arabia. Rushmore also visited Doha, Qatar. Other port visits included Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Guam, Australia, and Hawaii. Rushmore returned to San Diego in December 1999.
Rushmore steams out of San Diego, 6 January 2003. (Senior Chief Photographers Mate Mahlon K. Miller, U.S. Navy Photograph 030106-N-0226M-003, Navy.mil Photos).
Rushmore, right, Australian replenishment vessel Success (AOR.304), center, and Tarawa (LHA-1), left, refuel in the Pacific Ocean, 11 July 2004. (Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Bradley J. Sapp, U.S. Navy Photograph 040711-N-4304S-262, Navy.mil Photos).
Rushmore deployed on 6 December 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG). En route to the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility, a tsunami on 26 December struck Indonesia and other shores on the Indian Ocean. In response the Navy deployed assets in a massive, military humanitarian response codenamed Operation Unified Assistance. Rushmore was diverted as part of this effort.
The ship became an afloat staging base for military helicopters to refuel and transport supplies. Rushmore launched both Landing Craft, Air Cushion bringing tons of food and water ashore for distribution to survivors. Once the operation ended, Rushmore resumed her voyage course to the Persian Gulf to support maritime security operations, and to defend Iraq's Kwar Al Amaya and Al Basra oil platforms. The Marines of the 15th MEU deployed to Kuwait, and went further north into areas of Iraq before they were brought back on board in early April. During the transit home, Rushmore made a port visit at Cairns, Australia. Rushmore then returned to the ship's homeport of San Diego on 6 June 2005.
The ship completed a three-month maintenance period and participated in Operation Rim of the Pacific off the coast of Hawaii from June to August 2006.
Rushmore began 2007 by completing preparatory work ups with the Bonhomme Richard ESG. On 10 April Rushmore got underway for deployment to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf. En route Rushmore called at Guam and Singapore before finally arriving in the Persian Gulf. The crew supported the ship-to-shore movement of their embarked Marines to Kuwait. Afterwards, Rushmore conducted maritime support operations while making port visits in both Jebel Ali and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Manama, Bahrain. Rushmore continued to work with coalition partners in the Persian Gulf until their return to San Diego on 19 November 19.
In May 2008 Rushmore sailed to Seattle, Wash. to take part in the Centennial Celebration of the Great White Fleet on 22 May. She participated in a parade of ships and later hosted tours to both the general public and guests for the gala.
In late September 2008, Rushmore sailed to Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, to serve as the test platform for developing Anti-Submarine Warfare systems in the Nanoose Firing Range. While there, Rushmore had a three-day port visit and was hosted by Canadian patrol frigate Regina (FFH.334).
Upon their return home, Rushmore finalized their preparations for the Board of Inspection and Survey on 27 October 2008. She then underwent Unit Level Training Assessment, Engineering in November 2008.
In July 2010 Rushmore began a one-year mid-life upgrade maintenance period. The ship successfully completed this maintenance in July 2011.
Rushmore transits the Red Sea as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, 3 March 2013. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shawnte Bryan U.S. Navy Photograph 130303-N-YQ852-014, Navy.mil Photos).
Rushmore conducting a simulated strait transit training exercise in the Pacific Ocean as part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group with Essex (LHD-2) and Anchorage (LPD-23), 23 March 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Huey D. Younger Jr., U.S. Navy Photograph 150323-N-MD297-212, Navy.mil Photos).
On 10 June 2015 Rushmore rescued 65 distressed persons from a craft that sank in the Makassar Strait. The crew discovered the people on bamboo rafts tied together and with no means of propulsion. The people were brought on board and provided food, water, and medical attention.
Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons:
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (2)
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Somalia)
Detailed history pending.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
15 October 2015